K-State Ends Homestand with Xavier Tuesday

Game Information

KANSAS STATE (7-1, 0-0 Big 12)
vs. Xavier (5-2)

Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Tipoff: 8:05 p.m. CT
Location: Manhattan, Kan.  |  Arena: Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)

Television: ESPNU/ESPN Full Court (Dave Armstrong, play-by-play; Jon Sundvold, analyst; Jim Gaiero, producer)  |  Channel Directory: n/a   |  Internet: www.ESPN360.com

Radio: K-State Sports Network (Wyatt Thompson, play-by-play; Stan Weber, analyst)   |  Live Stats: www.k-statesports.com  |  Local Stations: Sports Radio 1350 AM (KMAN; Manhattan), 102.9-FM (KQTP; Topeka)  |  Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 125

Head Coaches: Kansas State - Frank Martin (Florida International '93) is 50-25 (.667) in his third season.  Xavier - Chris Mack (Xavier '92) is 5-2 (.714) in his first season at Xavier and as a head coach.  Mack spent the past five seasons as an assistant to former coach Sean Miller.    

Last Time Out: K-State defeated Washington State, 86-69 on Saturday, while Xavier knocked off Kent State, 77-61, at home on Saturday.

Series: Xavier leads 4-2 (K-State is 1-0 at home)  |  Last time: Xavier won 103-77 on Dec. 31, 2007  |  vs. Atlantic 10: K-State is 17-17  |  Frank Martin is 0-1 all-time vs. Xavier, while Chris Mack is 0-0 all-time vs. K-State.     

Rankings: Kansas State is receiving votes in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls.  Xavier is unranked. 

Tickets: $20 (bench and Cat Cushion), $30 (chairbacks) at the Athletics Ticket Office at 800.221.CATS or via www.k-statesports.com

K-State concludes four-game homestand with Xavier
Kansas State continues a brutal stretch of non-conference on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats play reigning Atlantic 10 champion Xavier (5-2) at Bramlage Coliseum beginning at 8 p.m. CT.  The cumulative record of the squad's next three opponents (Xavier, UNLV and Alabama) is 18-4 with two of those coming in hostile environments in Las Vegas and Mobile, Ala.  The team has won 30 of their last 31 games at Bramlage Coliseum in the month of December dating back to the 2002-03 season, including 18 consecutive home wins since Dec. 30, 2004.  The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) on the call.  It will mark the fourth time the Wildcats have appeared on ESPNU this season. 

K-State will be looking for its first win against Xavier in almost 14 years on Tuesday night, as it concludes a three-game contract with the school that began in 2006-07 under former head coach Bob Huggins.  The Musketeers have won the first two games in the contract at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, by an average of 18 points after winning 76-66 on Jan. 3, 2007 and 103-77 on Dec. 31, 2007.  The 26-point victory still remains the worst defeat of head coach Frank Martin's tenure at Kansas State.  Four players are still left from that 2007-08 squad, including current starters Jacob Pullen (four points, two assists in 12 minutes) and Dominique Sutton (zero points, 2 rebounds in 12 minutes) as well as key reserves Chris Merriewether (zero points in five minutes) and Jamar Samuels (redshirt).  The Wildcats are 17-17 (.500) all-time against teams from the Atlantic 10, including a 6-3 mark at home.  The squad already has one win over an A-10 team this season, knocking off No. 18/21 Dayton, 83-76, in the third-place game in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.  Xavier leads the all-time series, 4-2, however, K-State owns the lone victory in the series in Manhattan -- a 73-67 win on Dec. 20, 1995.

The Wildcats earned their first win in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series on Saturday with an impressive 86-69 victory over Washington State at home, helping the league clinch the Series for the first time.  The team scored a school-record (began being kept in 2005-06) 39 points off turnovers in handing the Cougars their second consecutive loss.  WSU shot just 26.1 percent in the first half and made just 1-of-6 shots from 3-point range for the game.   The backcourt tandem of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen led the way once again with 21 points each, while junior Dominique Sutton added 16 points to go with six rebounds, four steals and three assists.  Clemente keyed the Wildcats in the second half, knocking down 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, while Pullen went a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line.  It marked just the third time that both Clemente and Pullen have scored 20 or more points in the same contest, while it was the sixth time that the duo has combined to score 40 or more points.  The win gave head coach Frank Martin the 50th of his career, becoming the third-fastest in school history to eclipse the mark after Zora Clevenger (1916-20; 59 games) and Lon Kruger (1986-90; 71 games).          

Projected Starters
Kansas State (7-1)
G - #0 Jacob Pullen (18.5 ppg., 4.1 apg.)
G - #21 Denis Clemente (14.8 ppg., 2.8 apg.)
F - #23 Dominique Sutton (6.6 ppg., 4.6 rpg.)
F - #24 Curtis Kelly (11.1 ppg., 7.0 rpg.)
F - #33 Wally Judge (4.5 ppg., 3.6 rpg.)

Xavier (5-2)
G - #25 Dante Jackson (6.4 ppg., 3.1 rpg.)
G - #52 Terrell Holloway (9.7 ppg., 3.6 rpg.)
G - #55 Jordan Crawford (18.9 ppg., 5.4 rpg.)
F - #22 Jamel McLean (8.3 ppg., 7.1 rpg.)
C - #31 Jason Love (11.0 ppg., 10.9 rpg.)

A Quick Look at Kansas State
K-State is averaging just over 80 points per game (81.2 ppg.) on 46.6 percent shooting (216-of-464), including 34.7 percent from 3-point range (50-of-144), with 38.9 rebounds, 15.6 assists, 7.0 steals and 4.9 blocks per game.  The squad has topped 80 or more points in six of eight games, while hitting on 45 percent or better from the field on five occasions.  The 650 points scored are the most through eight games in 12 years since the 1997-98 squad scored 676 points, while the six 80-point contests tie the 1976-77 and 1986-87 teams for the most through eight games.  

Junior Jacob Pullen leads four players in double figures at 18.5 points per game on 41.2 percent shooting from the field to go with team bests in free throws (52), free throw percentage (83.9), assists (33) and steals (13), while backcourt mate Denis Clemente is second in scoring at 14.8 points per game on 38 percent shooting from the field and is tops on the team in field goals (41), 3-point field goals (17) and minutes per game (31.5).  The duo has combined for over 40 percent of the scoring (266) so far this season, while historically, they are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 27.5) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76.  Clemente recently topped the 1,000-point plateau for his career (includes his two-year stint at Miami) with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28.  Pullen's 939 points in 75 career games ranks 25th all-time in school history, while he has scored in double figures in all eight games and a team-best 47 times in his career.  

Sophomore Jamar Samuels, who has come off the bench in seven of eight games, is averaging 11.4 points on a team-best 61.9 percent shooting (26-of-42) to go with 5.6 rebounds per game.  He has scored in double figures in five games, including his a career-best 21 points against Fort Hays State on Dec. 1.  Dubbed the "X-Factor" for his ability to change the game off the bench, 19 of his 20 double-digit scoring efforts have come as a reserve.  Junior Curtis Kelly is the lone other Wildcat to average double figures at 11.1 points on 56.9 percent shooting (33-of-58) to go with a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game.  He has grabbed double-doubles in two of his last five outings, including 11 points and 11 rebounds against IUPUI on Nov. 28.  All 12 players have scored this season with eight different players registering double-digit scoring.

Daunting Schedule
The game against Xavier continues a difficult stretch of games for Kansas State, in which, the squad will face teams with a combined record of 18-4 (.818) in the next three games, including two in basically road environments with UNLV (7-0) in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday and Alabama (5-2) in Mobile, Ala., for the Coors Classic.  The Wildcats' 14 non-conference opponents have a collective 67-40 (.626) overall record through Dec. 7, including an unbeaten record and national ranking for the Runnin' Rebels as well as Top 25 ranking for Ole Miss (7-1).  Four of the non-conference foes are either ranked or are receiving votes (Dayton, Washington State) in the latest AP and/or Coaches Top 25 poll.   

The Book on Xavier
A member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, Xavier enters Tuesday's game with a 5-2 record after earning a 77-61 win over Kent State at home on Saturday afternoon.  The Musketeers opened the season with three wins in a row at home over Youngstown State (83-57), Bowling Green (101-57) and Sacred Heart (105-65) before posting a 1-2 mark at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., over Thanksgiving Break.  The team lost their opening game to eventual runner-up Marquette (71-61) before beating Creighton (80-67) and losing to Baylor (69-64).  This is Xavier's first road game of the season and the first to K-State since 1995.

Xavier is averaging 81.6 points per game on the season on 50.4 percent shooting, including 46.5 percent from 3-point range, with 41.0 rebounds, 15.9 assists, 6.3 steals and 4.7 blocks per game.  The team is shooting a solid 67.3 percent from the free throw line.  A young squad with seven freshmen and sophomores and just one senior, there are seven players shooting 50 percent or better from the field.  The Musketeers have two players averaging in double figures and seven averaging six or more points.  Sophomore transfer Jordan Crawford is averaging a team-best 18.9 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting, including 53.4 percent from beyond the arc.  Crawford is tops on the team in field goals (51), 3-point field goals (18) and second in rebounding (5.4 rpg.).  Senior center Jason Love averages a double-double with 11.0 points per game on a team-best 63.4 percent shooting to go with 10.9 rebounds per game.  Second-year guards Terrell Holloway and Mark Lyons both average 9.7 points per game, while junior forward Jamel McLean adds 8.3 points on 54.1 percent shooting and 7.1 rebounds per game.

Xavier is led by first-year head coach Chris Mack, who was elevated to head coach at his alma mater on April 15, 2009 after spending five years as the top aide to former head coach Sean Miller.  Prior to being elevated to head coach, Mack spent 10 years an assistant coach at Wake Forest (2001-04) and Xavier (2004-09), where he helped nine teams advance to the posteason, including eight to the NCAA Tournament.

Series vs. Xavier
This will be the seventh meeting between Kansas State and Xavier on the hardwood with the Musketeers holding a 4-2 edge in the series.  The two teams first met at the Kentucky Invitational back in 1961 with the Wildcats earning a 75-67 victory.  Xavier enacted revenge in its next meeting, knocking K-State out of the 1990 NCAA Tournament with an 87-79 victory before a school-record 39,417 fans in Hoosier Dome.  The squads have met just once in Manhattan with the Wildcats taking a 73-67 win on Dec. 20, 1995.

'Cats in December
Kansas State will look to continue its strong play in December, where the Wildcats have won 35 of their last 45 games.  The squad is 443-230 (.657) all-time in December with 30 wins in their last 31 games at home in the month dating back to the 2002-03 season, including a current of streak of 18 consecutive home victories dating back to the 2004-05 season.  The team's last home loss in December came to Rutgers (76-66) on Dec. 28, 2004.  K-State has won four or more games in the month the last seven seasons, including six in both 2002-03 and 2006-07.  The squad has posted a winning record in December 61 times in their history, including seven consecutive seasons dating back to 2002-03.   The Wildcats won a school-record nine games in the month nine times in their history, including perfect 9-0 marks in 1947-48 and 1993-94.

Last season, K-State posted a 4-1 mark in the month with a loss at Oregon (75-70) and wins against Southern Miss (74-55) in the Sprint Center and Gardner-Webb (107-48), Centenary (73-51) and Wagner (82-53) at home.  

Quite A Duo
Senior Denis Clemente and junior Jacob Pullen have become quite the scoring duo for the Wildcats in their two seasons together.  The two have combined to score 1,218 points in just over one season together, including finishing first and second in scoring in 2008-09.  They have combined to average 33.3 points per game through eight games this season, including Pullen's team-leading 18.5 points per game.  The 33.3-point combined average is the fourth-highest by a guard duo in school history, trailing Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans in 1974-75 (39.1) and 1975-76 (38.8) and Askia Jones and Anthony Beane in 1993-94 (33.5) and just ahead of Steve Henson and Jean Derouillere in 1989-90 (33.1).  Historically, Clemente and Pullen are the second-most productive (as far as combined points per game at 27.5) guard tandem since former NBA players Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams combined to average 38.9 points per game for the Wildcats between 1974-76.  They have combined to score 20 or more points 35 times in 40 games dating back to last season, including 30 or more points on 21 occasions.  Clemente and Pullen combined to score 40 or more points for the sixth time in the win over Washington State with 21 points each, while the duo also accomplished the feat with 21 and 26 points, respectively, in the win over No. 18/21 Dayton on Nov. 22.  The contest against the Cougars marked just the third time that both players have topped 20 or more points in the same contest following the Kansas game on Feb. 14, 2009 and the Dayton contest on Nov. 22.       

Clemente Tops 1,000
Senior Denis Clemente eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier with a pair of free throws just over a minute into the IUPUI game on Nov. 28.  Clemente, who transferred to K-State after playing two seasons at Miami (Fla.), has totaled 598 points his two-year career on 40 percent shooting (208-of-520) from the field, including 36.2 percent (76-of-210) from 3-point range, in 40 games.  He has a chance to break into the school's top-10 of career points by a transfer, needing just 205 points to tie Elliot Hatcher (803; 1994-96) for 10th place.  He scored 450 points in his two years as a Hurricane, connecting on 38.7 percent (167-of-432) of his field goals, including 31.5 percent (57-of-181) from beyond the arc, in 61 games.

Pullen Moving Up the Charts
Junior Jacob Pullen is nearing several career milestone as he is in the midst of his third season as a Wildcat.  With his 21-point effort against Washington State on Saturday, Pullen now has 939 career points, which ranks 25th all-time in school history.  He needs 61 points to become the 21st player in school history to tally 1,000 career points.  He ranks in the top 10 in both 3-point field goals made and attempted, ranking fifth in attempts with 402 and sixth in makes with 131.  He needs 37 3-point attempts to move ahead of Lance Harris (439, 2003-07) for fourth place, while he needs 11 3-point field goals to move past Will Scott (142, 1986-88) for fifth place all-time.  He became the sixth player in school history to top 100 steals in a career with his three steals against Boston in the opener in the Puerto Rico.  He needs four more thefts to move into fourth-place all-time ahead of Belvis Noland (110, 1993-95) and Aaron Swartzendruber (110, 1994-98).  Pullen could join Steve Henson (1987-90) and Askia Jones (1989-94) as the only players with 1,000 points (needs 39 points), 200 3-pointers (needs 69), 250 assists (needs 2) and 100 steals (already has 107).  He currently holds the longest current games played streak at 75 games, while he has started 42 consecutive games.

Up Next: 18/17 UNLV (7-0)
K-State hits the road for its first true road test of the season on Saturday, as the Wildcats face unbeaten UNLV (7-0) and former Wildcat Lon Kruger at the Orleans Arena at 6 p.m. CT.  The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Kansas City.